As the countdown to Christmas quickly passes by, the jury is still out on this year’s holiday shopping season outshining years past. According to the results of the Vantiv ShopTalk survey, which were released yesterday (Dec. 7), many consumers plan to keep their spending on gifts this year close to last year’s average of $600.

The survey of 500 consumers found that only 11 percent plan to spend more money this holiday season than they did last year, with 17 percent expecting to spend less and 72 percent committing to spending about the same as 2014.

Vantiv also pointed out that not only are consumer spending preferences changing this year, but the experience shoppers find at the POS may vary as well.

"Many shoppers will be using the new chip cards and EMV readers for the first time this season, and we know there will be some confusion and delays as people get used to the new terminals," Ray Moorman, director of product strategy at Vantiv, said in a press release. "Shoppers should also be aware that the additional security of EMV doesn't carry over to shopping online. All we want for Christmas is for everyone to be vigilant this year to protect card data and for businesses to invest in additional security, such as tokenization and point-to-point encryption."

At the top of many consumers’ holiday wish lists this year are gift cards, clothes, books, toys and DVDs. The survey found that the preferences for what consumers plan to buy and give away as gifts also varies drastically based on how old they are. Nearly one-third of millennials are likely to purchase a personal electronic device, while Gen-Xers are significantly more likely to buy “experiential gifts” such as concert tickets or sports tickets.

One of the more unique questions on the survey asked consumers what type of payment they think Santa Claus will be looking for this holiday season, but good ol’ “milk and cookies” didn’t stand a chance against cold hard cash.

Survey respondents ranked cash first (54 percent), followed by credit cards (47 percent) and debit cards taking third place (39 percent). Bitcoin found itself in last place with only 8 percent of shoppers expecting Santa to accept the controversial payment method.



About: Accelerating The Real-Time Payments Demand Curve:What Banks Need To Know About What Consumers Want And Need, PYMNTS  examines consumers’ understanding of real-time payments and the methods they use for different types of payments. The report explores consumers’ interest in real-time payments and their willingness to switch to financial institutions that offer such capabilities.